About furniture and what to look for in a piece
Many people cannot tell the difference between a veneered and solid wood piece of furniture and automatically think solid wood is superior. There are many examples throughout history of magificent veneered furniture. The use of veneer allows exotic and rare timbers to be used and the base material (chipboard or MDF) allows for greater dimensional stability, for instance in large table tops. The important thing is to have solid wood edges (lippings) that take dents without the veneer exposing the core material.
The importance of finish
A wood finish both protects and visually enhances the piece and should be appropriate to the timber and the use of the piece. Some woods take an oil well, other woods take a lacquer better. Jeremy Broun tends to avoid using waxes which although adding a romantic smell to the piece, can attract dirt in open grained timbers (such as ash) and make future repairs difficult.
What is good design
A piece of furniture by definition has to fulfil a practical function. A chair should be adequately comfortable and a table should have a flat top surface. Depending on the type of table the surface might be slatted with
due attention to tea spoons not falling through.
The time-served principles of good design are:
Fitness for purpose
Appropriate use of material